In the near future, Brooklyn stands at the edge of apocalypse, wrecked by crime and decay, ruled by savage beings known as Long Tooths. Not even a subway train can penetrate the lawless landscape.
Only Dewdrop (played by Maureen Sebastian), a Filipina American, katana-wielding young lesbian, and her best friend, Cert (Paco Tolson), can kick, stab, and punch their way through the borough.
Dewdrop’s mission: to avenge the murder of her lover by killing the Long Tooths’ fearsome leader, Boss 2K.
A lone warrior, a broken world, shadowy villains, and heart-stopping fight scenes: this is the classic backdrop against which playwright Qui Nguyen creates the most unique lesbian heroine the New York indie theater scene has ever had a chance to cheer for.
His freewheeling, snap-crackle-pop play, Soul Samurai, is a modern pastiche of blaxploitation films, hip-hop swagger, and old-fashioned superhero(ine) vengeance.
Nguyen is the co-founder of the aptly named Vampire Cowboys theater Company; its mission is to bring a comic book aesthetic to the live stage. The company’s past productions have tackled sci-fi and caped crusaders, and Soul Samurai teems with the color, diversity, and biting humor those shows shared.
Samurai’s particular formula has a personal bent for Nguyen, who notes in the program that he grew up as a lone Vietnamese American kid in Arkansas:
..it woulda been easy for me to feel bad about what I looked like or where I lived. But seeing characters like Bruce Lee and Richard Roundtree on the screen made raising my head up high easy and convinced me that it wasn’t a silly idea to believe that I too could be the baddest mamma jamma in my ‘hood. It was about heroes.
With Dewdrop, Nguyen is, in a way, giving back with his beloved genre; he’s offering up a lesbian warrior to inspire queer folks.
And it’s great, geeky fun.